26 March 2013, 12:29

Figure skating: Evgeniy Plushenko will retire after Sochi Olympics

Евгений Плющенко
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There’s one sport that we haven’t talked about for a while already and it’s of course basketball. So let’s discuss it in this edition of our program… and we have a good reason for that too since the continent’s top club competition is slowly approaching the last 8 stage. 16 teams are now still vying for qualification and among them two Russian clubs – CSKA Moscow and Khimki from the Moscow region.

Both teams have three games remaining in this group stage campaign and well… they have different chances of making it to the next stage. Let’s start with the European powerhouse, a team that’s lifted the Euroleague trophy 6 times in the club’s history.

After their most recent game in the tournament CSKA Moscow have edged closer to qualifying for the Euroleague play-offs, following a home win over Zalgiris. The Army Men sit third in Group E at the moment with 19 points to their name. After 11 games CSKA hold an 8-3 record and if they manage to continue performing well in the remainder of the games, they have a chance to get a home court advantage by the time play-offs start.

Yes but it will be quite difficult for Ettore Messina’s men because they will be facing pretty tough opponents in the remaining three matches. On Thursday, CSKA will be travelling to Spain to face fifth placed Unicaja… The Spanish side still has a chance to make it into the top four in Group E and qualify for the last 8. So it will be a very close battle indeed.

That’s right and after that, CSKA will face their probably toughest opponent, another European giant – Real Madrid. The Army Men lost their first game against them over in Madrid… By the way, Real are now in second place of the standing in Group E and will also fight for the home court advantage in the play-offs.

And finally, CSKA’s last opponent in this group campaign will be Greek side Panathinaikos who have just a point less than the Muscovites and occupy the last qualifying spot in their group. So we are probably in for another tough encounter in that tie… Of course, depending on how PAO will perform in the next two games.

So plenty to look forward to for CSKA Moscow… Meanwhile let’s take a glance at their fellow Russian side Khimki who fell victim to a last minute basket by Maccabi Electra in their latest match in Israel. The Moscow region side desperately needed a win there in order to pull away from a pack of 3 teams vying for the 4th and final qualification spot.

Unfortunately that did not happen and Khimki are now in fifth place in Group F and will have to pull out all stops in the remaining three games in order to make it to the last 8. Khimki are even on points with Maccabi at the moment who are in fourth spot in that group.

Well, despite the fact that the team are a place below qualification, they stand a pretty good chance of eventually making it to the play-offs. In the remainder if this group campaign they will face sides like Caja Laboral from Spain who are in sixth place and Turkish outfit Fenerbahce who are in seventh.

Yes but their most important game will be staged on the last matchday against the reigning Euroleague champions Olympiakos from Greece. The Greeks are currently in the third place in the standings and already a foot into the play-offs.

Let’s wish both of the Russian sides good luck in the remainder of this group stage campaign and hope that we will have a maximum representation in the last 8 of this season’s Turkish airlines Euroleague.

The 2006 Olympic champion Evgeniy Plushenko who has just undergone a surgery on his troublesome spine said he will retire after the home winter Games in Sochi.
"I'm very proud that my country will host the winter Olympics where I'm dreaming to compete. My biggest wish is to perform in front of the home crowd in Sochi  and after that finish my sports career."
The question about Plusehko's participation in 2014 Games is up in the air as first of all Evgeniy hasn't yet booked a spot on the team and secondly he must heal all of the injuries that have been disturbing the skater for quite a long period of time.
Let's not forget that Russia's rising star Maxim Kovtun took a disappointing 17th place at the world meeting in Canada failing to earn the second Olympic berth for the country. So, the hosts of the winter Games will be represented by just one skater in the men's single field.
So with just one license to the winter Games a more than intense fight will unfold at the Russian nationals where the selection for the Olympics should take place. More than 6 talented guys will try to prove that they deserve the privilege of defending the national prestige in Sochi. And by the way Evgeniy Plushenko will be one of the ticket seekers.
So how can you evaluate Plusheko's chances to get a coveted spot on the team?
Undoubtedly Plushenko is by far stronger than the rest of his counterparts and I don't think he will face any troubles in progressing to the Olympics. But how well can he perform there? This question remains unanswered.
Evgeniy is the most experienced and most decorated skater in the Russian team, he has already taken part in three Olympic tournaments where harvested one gold and two silver awards. Do you think he might face serious obstacles on his way to another Olympic medal?
Oh definitely he will. Since 2010 Games in Vancouver new names have emerged on the figure skating horizon and these immensely gifted skaters have already cemented their places on the top. And it will not be an easy task for the Russian legend to topple the current leaders from the throne.
You must be talking about Patrick Chan who clinched his third world title a couple of days ago.
Not only Chan, there are a great number of contenders who are dreaming about the Olympic gold in Sochi and now it's impossible to name clear frontrunners for the Olympic title because everything can happen. We saw Chan committing drastic errors and there is no guarantee he will be faultless in Sochi.
Yes you are right it's too early to speculate about the outcome of the Olympic tournament. Let's just keep our fingers crossed and wish Evgeniy Plushenko to enter the Olympic Games in the best shape possible.
Let's first wish him to overcome all the problems with his health and to make it to the Olympic team, as only after that we can support him in Sochi.

 

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